Now that football is in off-season we take a look at some of the best players to wear the scarlet and black. Ground Rules: Jonathan and Ryan alternated picks. Pure opinion. Players could not be current players. 4-3 scheme.
Disclaimer: Some of us haven't always been Red Raider fans and as many pointed out when we did offense, we did omit some that could/should have been on the list. For some of us, there will be no better players than those that we were first introduced to, to say nothing of legitimate arguments of merit over romanticism. Having said that, we took your concerns to heart and we hope you find this list more to your liking, though we doubt it, but for different reasons than the first. Enjoy!
DL: Adell Duckett (Jonathan)
Adell is 2nd in Tech history in both single season sacks (14) and career (28) and was responsible for 113 yards lost in tackles for loss in 2003.
DL: Don Rives (Ryan)
A 2nd-Team All-American in 1972, Rives helped anchor a line that wouldn't see a defensive lineman in that mold until Gabe Rivera came on the scene almost a decade later. He was also a consensus All-SWC in 1972.
DL: Gabe Rivera (Jonathan)
Senor Sack. College Football Hall of Fame 2012. Consensus All-American. Gabe was a phenomenal athlete, at 6'3 and almost 300 pounds, he was still able to run a sub-4.8 40. In 4 years, Gabe had over 300 tackles. A true generational talent.
DL: Aaron Hunt (Ryan)
Holds the all-time record for sacks at Texas Tech with 34. Playing during the transition from Dykes to Leach he held his best performance for 2001 recording 12 sacks that season earning third-team All-American honors.
LB: Zach Thomas (Jonathan)
Zach is one of only 5 Red raiders in history to be named a unanimous All-American, getting the honor his senior season, as well as being named All-American his junior year. A true tackling machine, he had 131 his senior year, 20 of which came against Mizzou. His biggest accomplishment while at Tech however was his pick 6 against the Aggies in 1995 to lead the Red Raiders to a 14-7 win.
LB: Lawrence Flugence (Ryan)
Lawrence holds the record for tackles in a career at Tech with 500, including his 1991 campaign in which he tallied a season best 193 tackles. (I remember when we got excited about Cody Davis breaking 100)
LB: Keyunta Dawson (Jonathan)
Dawson played as a true freshman in 2003, and ended up 2nd on the team in sacks. As a sophomore he led the team with 9 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks as well as a fumble return touchdown against TCU. Keyunta always seemed to be involved in the play for tech during his years on campus.
DB: Elmer Tarbox (Ryan)
Elmer helped get the Texas Tech tradition going in the late 1930's, holding the second most interceptions in a career, 17, behind Tracy Saul. To give more consideration to just how good Tarbox was, pass attempts weren't as plentiful as they are today and Tarbox certainly made the most of almost every opportunity. Still holds the record for most INTs in a season with 11.
DB: Jamar Wall (Jonathan)
Jamar Wall played up to his name. He was a wall. He did this
DB: Tracy Saul (Ryan)
Man could we use Tracy right now. All-Time leader in INT's for a career with 25 and picked off 8 passes in a season twice in 1989 and 1991. A story of how a career is better than any one season earning only 2nd and 3rd team All-American consideration. Saul was a staple in the defensive backfield and was named All-Conference in the SWC all four years of his career and was only the third player to do so.
DB: Dwayne Slay (Jonathan)
Jamar Wall may have been incredibly stout and stood up to players. But Dwayne Slay was in another level entirely. Offensive players never got past Slay. No Red Raider fan can forget this....
DL: Bill Herchman (Ryan)
Bill gets on the list for his 7 year NFL career playing for the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys in the mid-late 50's and early 60's.
DL: Colby Whitlock (Jonathan)
In the 2008 game against Texas, we went up 2-0 after Colby penetrated UT's line and tackled their RB in the endzone. He was named All-Big 12 his senior season by pretty much every publication that came out.
DL: Brandon Sharpe (Ryan)
Brandon only had two years on the field with Tech in 2008 and 2009, but had a memorable year in 09 racking up an all-time record of 15 sacks in a season. The record still stands today.
DL: McKinner Dixon (Jonathan)
When Dixon was able to stay on the field, he was a force to be reckoned with. In 2009 he led all returning players from the 2008 team with 9 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
LB: Thomas Howard (Ryan)
Thomas played 9 seasons in the NFL, but made his mark in Lubbock in 1976 as a 1st-Team All-American at linebacker.
LB: Terrance Bullitt (Jonathan)
Bullitt was a good all-around linebacker/safety combination player who always seemed to find the ball carrier, and was honorable mention All-Big 12 multiple times.
LB: Brad Hastings (Ryan)
2nd all-time in career tackles at Texas Tech with 480, Hastings never seemed to get as much recognition as many thought he should have. From 1983-1986, he was the Zach Thomas a decade earlier and is also 2nd in single season tackles with 171.
DB: Khalid Naziruddin (Jonathan)
Khalid had what was probably one of the coolest names in Red Raider history. Khalid was a walk-on, and although small for a corner at only 5'10 and 180 pounds, he was the strongest in the secondary, benching 375 and a 565-pound squat. In the 2004 upset over California, he had a team high 11 tackles.
DB: John Thompson (Ryan)
Played from 1951-1953 and is tied for 2nd all-time in Tech's record books for interceptions during a season with 8 and 3rd for a career with 14.
DB: Vincent Meeks (Jonathan)
Meeks was named the defensive MVP in the 2004 Holiday Bowl after a game-changing interception that saw Tech go on a 21-0 run.
DB: Tate Randle (Ryan)
Played 6 seaons in the NFL for various teams and currently ranks 3rd all-time for INT's in a career with 14. Randle played in the late 70's, early 80's earning Honorable Mention All-American.
So there you have it. Tell us who you thought should have made the list and where we got it wrong. And I'm shocked that some of you out there have no idea who Elmer Tarbox is. Geez... Tech football didn't start in the 70's!